Vitamin B12 and Exhaustion

Vitamin B12 and exhaustion are both factors of anemia. For many years, doctors have prescribed vitamin B12 shots for exhaustion and other symptoms of fatigue. In many cases, vitamin B12 shots for pernicious anemia, a cause of vitamin B12 deficiency, provides relief from exhaustion. Other times, exhaustion due to illnesses comorbid with pernicious anemia, such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), are eased with vitamin B12 shots.

Exhaustion from anemia

Vitamin B12 affects exhaustion caused by two particular types of anemia; vitamin B12 deficiency (pernicious anemia) and iron deficiency. Pernicious anemia causes abnormal red blood cells, where your body produces overlarge, misshapen red blood cells that cannot function properly. Iron deficiency, however, causes a general decline in red blood cells production. In either case, low red blood cells causes exhaustion resulting from poor oxygen supplies in the brain.

By supplementing with vitamin B12, you effectively reduce exhaustion by reversing the symptoms of pernicious anemia and aiding your body in producing more hemoglobin for exhaustion, as vitamin B12 is instrumental in supporting cell formation.

Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue exhaustion

Exhaustion can also indicate chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia, both of which occur often with vitamin B12 deficiency. Even if serum (blood) levels of vitamin B12 appear normal, people suffering from severe exhaustion should still experiment with vitamin B12 supplements, as standard blood tests are not always accurate.

Also, because many symptoms of low vitamin B12 and fibromyalgia are alike, doctors treating patients for exhaustion from chronic fatigue often fail to diagnose hidden signs of vitamin B12 deficiency. As a result, you may have dangerously low levels of vitamin B12 without even knowing it.

Who’s at risk for anemia?

Most people get enough vitamin B12 from eating beef, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products. If you suffer exhaustion, but don’t follow a vegan diet, nutrition is not a factor for low B12.

Certain factors can inhibit your ability to absorb vitamin B12 by interfering with intrinsic factor, a digestive enzyme your body requires to break down vitamin B12.

Risk factors for exhaustion from vitamin B12 deficiency are:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Gastrointestinal surgery
  • Gastritis
  • Medications such as or protein pump inhibitors
  • Old age
  • Alcoholism


Treating exhaustion

If the cause of exhaustion from vitamin B12 deficiency is diet (such as in strict veganism), then any type of vitamin B12 supplement is sufficient to regain your energy.

However, if vitamin B12 malabsorption is the cause for exhaustion, then dietary vitamin B12 pills are ineffective. Instead, you must use a method that dispenses vitamin B12 directly into the blood stream, bypassing the need for digestion in the stomach. Good options are vitamin B12 shots, sublingual tablets, or other forms of over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12 supplements.